Research takes a deep dive into large-scale impact of harm to children.
The original groundbreaking Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults (1998) led to an expanding awareness of the suffering, cost and burden illness wreaked by childhood abuse and neglect.
ACEs represents a chronic epidemic which hurts the entire planet. Not only that, ACEs are perpetrated by our species against itself, as adults both permit and directly enact abuse and neglect on children. Those children of course grow up to be shaped by their developmental experiences, and so the cycle repeats.
The state of the planet and our culture has itself become an adverse childhood experience. The environment we have created is psychologically and physically toxic to us. And we keep it going as-is.
Because much of the research on ACEs has been a variety of smaller and larger studies looking at different outcomes across many different populations, a large-scale consolidation of the existing data is in order. To accomplish this, as reported recently in The Lancet, Public Health, researchers Bellis, Hughes, Ford, Rodrigues, Sethi, and Passmore (2019) from the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies from Europe and the USA looking at ACEs outcome data.
The studies ranged in size from 1,500 to 978,647 people, and two looked were population studies following individual from birth. The ACEs reviewed included child emotional, physical and sexual abuse, exposure to violence in the home, break up of the family, and drug abuse, mental illness or crime within the household. The full ACEs scale is at the end of this piece, and may be triggering.
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